Acta Geophysica

, Volume 67, Issue 6, pp 1587–1597 | Cite as

Effect of hillslope topography on soil erosion and sediment yield using USLE model

  • T. SabzevariEmail author
  • A. Talebi
Research Article - Hydrology


Catchment hillslopes in nature have a complex geometry. Complex hillslopes have different plans (convergent, parallel and divergent) and different curvature (straight, concave and convex). In this study, the erosion rates of the nine complex hillslopes were investigated using the universal soil loss (USLE) method. The topography factor (LS function) in the USLE was developed as a function of plan shape and profile curvature. The hillslopes studied were divided into sets of complex pixels and the erosion over the pixels was calculated. Total erosion was regarded as the sum of erosion of all pixels. Furthermore, to calculate the sediment delivery ratio of each pixel, a new travel time equation for complex hillslopes was employed. Results showed that the mean erosion of convex hillslopes was 1.43 times that of concave and 1.19 times that of straight slopes. The effect of curvature shape on erosion was much greater than plan shape effect. The highest erosion belonged to convex divergent slopes, and the least erosion was related to concave divergent slopes. The laboratory results intended for validation of the numerical model also show that in hillslopes with fixed plan, the erosion rate in the convex hillslopes exceeds that of concave and straight hillslopes. Also, in the hillslopes with fixed curvature profile, the erosion rate in the convergent hillslopes is more than in the divergent and parallel ones.


Complex hillslopes Profile curvature USLE Soil erosion 


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Copyright information

© Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences & Polish Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil Engineering, Estahban BranchIslamic Azad UniversityEstahbanIran
  2. 2.Faculty of Natural ResourcesYazd UniversityYazdIran
  3. 3.Geography DepartmentThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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